The California Supreme Court on
Wednesday agreed to decide whether proponents of Proposition 8,
California's gay marriage ban, have legal standing to defend it in
court, the AP reported.
Last month, the U.S. 9th
Circuit Court of Appeals asked the high court to intervene on the
question of standing.
The justices met behind closed doors to
decide whether to hear arguments.
After a federal judge in San Francisco
declared the law unconstitutional, proponents of the 2008 ballot
measure appealed the ruling.
But the named defendants in the case –
Arnold Schwarzenegger, as governor, and Governor Jerry Brown, as
attorney general – refused to defend the law in court, prompting
ProtectMarriage.com, the conservative group that put Proposition 8 on
the ballot, and Imperial County, to step in.
The three-judge appeals panel heard
oral arguments in the case in December. The court said it “cannot
consider this important constitutional question” until it resolves
the issue of legal standing, and asked the high court to rule on the
The unforeseen detour will slow down
the case considerably; the court isn't expected to hear oral
arguments until September, at the earliest.
Backers of the law have responded with
legislation. California State Senator Tom Harman's Defense of
Initiative Statutes would compel the state attorney general to defend
ballot measures in court.
“Yes on 8 and their cohorts in the
Legislature know that current law doesn't allow them to appeal,”
Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, said in an
email to supporters. “That is why they are trying to change the
Democratic Attorney General Kamala
Harris has vowed not to defend Proposition 8 in court.